Date Released: February, 2005
The second single from M83’s third album “Before The Dawn Heals Us” is a wise choice: “Teen Angst” is with little dispute a shining moment on an otherwise debatably good album. However, unlike the song it represents (and much like the previous single “Don’t Save Us From the Flames”), Anthony Gonzalez apparently figured artwork was a bland distraction: Just look at that cover, folks… And as opposed to Nine Inch Nails’ groundbreaking “And All That Could’ve Been” live album (which took color genius David Carson months to create to get just that perfect shade of gray), this single took two people to design to get that pristine white you see littered all over everything but the black writing which was cleverly snatched in both font and exact angle (145°) from the LP. Here’s to you, Laurent Fétis and Jean-Philippe Talaga: May you never get another art job working for anyone anywhere ever again.
Anyway, the songs: “Teen Angst” starts off with that electronic blipping Gonzalez has grown famous for before cascading into some of the most beautiful synthesizers of the album. A rushing tidal wave of sound and emotion, “Teen Angst” lives up to its accurate-yet-hideously unfortunate title in a masterful display of large sounds that still manage to wrap you up and keep you warm in the city air of “Dawn’s” cover art. In stark contrast, “Addicted to Self Mutilation” (apropos given the subject of the single) is a Notwist-aping IDM piece that devolves into a round-robin chorus. It’s nice on its own, but it’s also easy to see why it didn’t wind up on the album. The Montag remix of “Teen Angst” is a somnolent finale, taking all the tear-induced torrent of emotion and replacing it with sparse, urban synths and a steady drumbeat that takes the stereotypical angst out of the teen and replaces it with a metropolitan ennui instead. It’s a nice little single, and if someday kids should cry themselves to sleep with this sort of thing, I won’t be the first to complain. PMasterson
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